Obama's Speech Raises Money
President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday may or may not
have convinced any members of Congress to vote for a health-care reform bill, but it
in raising over 1 million dollars for the Democratic National Committee in 24 hours.
It also resulted in windfall for the guy opposing Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), the
congressman who yelled out "You lie" during Obama's speech. So far, former marine
Rob Miller (D) has
over $700,000 from people who didn't like Wilson's remark. Miller and Wilson faced off in 2008,
with Wilson winning by 8%. With Miller better funded in 2010, it might be closer next year.
Dodd Will Stay on at the Banking Committee
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) has declined the opportunity to trade in his gavel
at the Senate Banking Committee for chairmanship of the HELP Committee formerly
run by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
is that Dodd will now try to become the champion of the consumer by ramming all kinds
of reforms down the bankers' throats. He will be wholeheartedly supported by the chairman
of the House Banking Committee, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
The real reason Dodd chose to stay where he is will probably never be known, but it is
possible that other senators urged him to do it to keep the enfeebled Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD),
who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in Dec. 2006--and is far from recovered--from getting the
Harkin Will Chair the HELP Committee
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) will take over Ted Kennedy's old job running the Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Harkin, son of a coal miner and
a strong union man, is an old-line liberal, cut of the same cloth as Kennedy.
He will now be thrust into the middle of the health-care
reform debate. His first choice is not a public option--he
a single-payer plan like Canada has--but he concedes there aren't the votes for it, so he will
his second choice, a public option to compete with private insurers. He and
Sen. Max Baucus, who definitely does not want a public option, are going to have to have a
serious man-to-man talk soon. While Harkin may or may not win this battle, supporters of the
public plan now have a real champion in the Senate to do battle with Baucus.
Harkin is popular in Iowa, having garnered 63% of the vote in 2008, winning 94 of the
state's 99 counties and he is not up again until 2014 to boot, so he will not be bashful
about pushing for a public plan.
Lincoln Gets to Run the Agriculture Committee
Tom Harkin's ascendancy at the HELP Committee propelled Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
to the head of the line at the Agriculture Committee, largely because three other senators
ahead of her in seniority declined the job.
Lincoln, daughter of a rice farmer, is a strong
of large farms and supports subsidies to cotton and rice farmers.
She is an opponent of the climate legislation President Obama wants because she feels
it will increase costs for farmers.
She also wants to end the trade embargo on Cuba so farmers can sell food to Cuba.
Lincoln is the first woman to run Agriculture.
Reid Gets Another Republican Challenger
Although he is majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is not that popular in his own state
of Nevada. Yesterday, state senator Mark Amodei (R)
that he will challenge Reid in 2010. However, since Danny Tarkanian,
the son of a popular former basketball coach at the University of Nevada is already in the
race and state Republican party chairwoman Sue Lowden is expected to enter soon, there
will be a primary. On the one hand, this will force the candidates to raise and spend money
shooting at other Republicans while Reid adds to his already enormous bank account.
On the other hand, none of the Republicans are well known and a high-profile primary
will give the winner a huge amount of invaluable publicity. Normally, in close races like
the Nevada general election is expected to be, grass roots Democrats would be expected to
contribute to Reid's campaign. However, many progressives feel Reid has been a very weak
Senate leader and would prefer him to be replaced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) or Sen.
Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the next two in line, both of whom are far more partisan than the
9/11 Holds Little Meaning for Teenagers
For many teenagers, the terrorist attack on the United States of Sept. 11, 2001 is
bit of history,
like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941 or the Lewis and Clark expedition.
It often happens that events that traumatize the country lose their power to horrify over
the course of time. For example, Memorial Day--originally called Decoration Day--was
instituted for the purpose of having people put flowers on the graves of soldiers who
died in the Civil War. It was later expanded to honor all American soliders who died in a
war. But in practice, it is more like National Picnic Day, with its former military
significance largely forgotten. But Sept. 11 seems to have been downgraded faster than
other traumatic events.
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